Born on this day in Washington D.C., attorney and diplomat John Foster Dulles (1888-1959) had a long a varied career in American politics. He served as Secretary of State (1953-1959) for President Dwight Eisenhower and became famous for his staunch anticommunist views.
"There is no nook or cranny into which Communist influence does not penetrate," said Dulles who was educated at Princeton and Paris' prestigious Sorbonne.
The distinguished statesman was an advisor to Woodrow Wilson and delegate to the United Nations. An international law expert, he negotiated and wrote the 1951 peace treaty with Japan.
"A capacity to change is indispensable. Equally indispensable is the capacity to hold fast to that which is good," he said.
As Secretary of State, Dulles believed the United States needed to help smaller countries withstand Communist aggression and worked with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to rebuild West Germany after the war.
According to biographer Richard H. Immerman, Dulles traveled 559,988 miles to promote allied unity. President Eisenhower called him "the wisest, most dedicated man" he knew.
The son of a Presbyterian minister, Dulles was known for his preacher-like rhetoric. He was once asked whether he had ever been wrong and replied, "Yes, once--many, many years ago. I thought I had made a wrong decision. Of course, it turned out that I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought that I was wrong."
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